Best Practice: Speaking to HBA Survivors

Reporting on HBA and harmful practices is undoubtedly in the public interest and sharing the stories of survivors and members of affected communities is a vital part of this, helping to educate, raise awareness, signpost to help and ultimately tackle the issues.

However, our research found that survivors who had been interviewed with media had a poor experience, with 60% saying their interviewer did not have a good understanding of HBA and harmful practices and 80% saying no aftercare or post-interview support was put in place for them.

Survivors of HBA and harmful practices and members of affected communities want to tell their stories but are often discouraged due to fears around their identity being revealed, repercussions from their family or community, re-traumatisation when talking about their experiences and the risk that their culture or religion will be demonised. Our best practice guide aims to navigate these concerns so that survivors’ voices can be heard, and we can move closer to eradicating HBA and harmful practices for good.

Return to main HBA Media Guidelines page

“There needs to be balance in the person’s narrative. Many times I’ve discussed the harmful practices that have occurred in western societies and amongst Caucasians, but I find that this part of my story is always ignored. Also, the emotional trauma they may leave the survivor in so be sensitive in the questioning, don’t ask me if I can achieve an orgasm or liken FGM to male circumcision, or do I forgive my mother.”Khatra Paterson, Savera UK Survivor Ambassador.